Zoe and I are hitting the road bright and early Monday morning for a glorious week in Chicago and a very quick stopover in Milwaukee. We are leaving Mike at home to hold the fort (and write his brilliant doctoral dissertation), so nobody try to break in and steal our valuable Wiggles DVDs and plastic toys while we’re gone.
Only kidding. We’ll be taking the most valuable Wiggles DVDs and plastic toys with us, of course.
But seriously, planning a road trip with a toddler turns out to be a lot more work than planning a road trip without one. I end up packing way more toddler clothes than necessary (good thing they are so tiny) and not quite the right clothes for myself. I cram sippy cups and toddler spoons into tiny suitcase pockets, never to be seen again. I ponder the selection of bedtime books, only to miss the one book she will ask for every single night we’re away. You get the idea.
So for this trip, I am making the preparation more fun for myself (obviously, Zoe doesn’t care if I have fun packing all her accoutrements or not). I bought blueberry Eggo waffles for us to eat in the car Monday morning, since we will be leaving as early as Maggie-and-Zoe-ly possible. I bought special road trip snacks like puff corn, mostly because I love hearing Zoe’s delighted little voice cry, “Puff corn!” when she sees that dark green bag. I bought a brand new toddler water bottle that “looks like Mom and Dad’s but is specially designed for kids”.
And, lest you think all my preparations involve spending money (pro tip: of course they do), I unearthed a travel case filled with CDs I haven’t heard in ages, in case we want to listen to something besides the Wiggles, Raffi, or Yo Gabba Gabba.
Of course, this is a Toddler Road Trip, so I know nothing will go exactly as I envision it. Zoe will want the one snack food I didn’t bring. She will demand to hear the same stinking Wiggles song seventy-five times in a row (and it will be “Getting Strong”, which is basically the words “getting strong” over and over for a minute and a half, and yes, this is based on a true story).
In fact, Zoe has already commandeered her new water bottle and decided that it does not look “just like Mom and Dad’s”. It looks just like a baby bottle, so I get to cradle her in my arms and feed it to her like I did when she was a baby. That is going to work very well while I’m driving the car.
But here’s the thing: I don’t mind catering to Zoe’s snack food demands, or listening to her favorite songs over and over (and over and over). I am just thrilled to be on the road with my girl, heading toward our family and friends.
And cradling her in my arms like a baby? I don’t mind that at all.
What are your favorite road trip stories / memories / tips / do’s and don’ts?